I still remember vividly the late night conversation I had with a Cult expert who made his living teaching Law Enforcement agencies as to the signs, symbols, and tactics of various Cult groups more than a decade ago. He told me some of the items he used, and displayed at some of his seminars--including some of the ‘trinkets’ he had collected from crime scenes over the years. He was widely sought to conduct such seminars.
At one particular event, he had a robe he had obtained from a raid on a Satanic coven. One officer was intrigued by the robe, and asked a host of questions about it, at the end of the seminar. The expert told me that he had later heard that the officer had decided to ‘cross over’. Meaning, the officer had obtained his OWN robe, and became a practicing Satanist. The expert was still a bit shaken by the experience, but rationalized that it was a part of the ‘risk’ to inform the Law Enforcement community about the genuine dangers of coming up against cult/occult groups.
However, he had learned several hard lessons. The first: When teaching, lecturing, or sharing information on these groups, one must take care NOT to give the glory to Satan, or any of those groups under his control. The second: The trinkets or objects themselves can cause curiosity to rise up in a person, and lure them into the very area that you are trying to keep them out. The third--and most important: Unless you explain the biblical truth--with a healthy dose of scripture--you will be doing more to encourage your listeners to serve Satan, rather than Jesus Christ.
Sadly, I have noticed that many people who deal with this issue are more interested in making a name for themselves, rather than setting the captives free.
THE LORD AS MY EDITOR AND GUIDE:
As I mentioned in Part One, I became a Christian in 1986. Jesus Christ found me in a church that I had been for several years. I was a church officer, usher, treasurer, and on the Board of Trustees, but was NOT a Christian. When an Interim Pastor came in during my fourth year in this church, (after the previous Pastor resigned) I heard the true gospel PREACHED and became a Christian. Soon, I dropped all those other church offices because I was serving in them out of ignorance.
I learned that this one of the MAIN reasons why people get wrapped up in cult/occult activity. Out of their own ignorance. As my research into cult/occult activity unfolded, the Lord led those veteran saints from various walks of life to me to help me in this task. Their names are not important, but their information and teachings remain with me. Through their battles, I was blessed to put together a radio series that covered Satanism, Wicca, Witchcraft, the Satanic Bible, Ritualistic Crime, and a host of other issues. It had its share of critics--in house and in the community. However, more than a few people wrote or called in, requesting audiotape copies--a first for the station I had been working as a Reporter and Anchor.
The public response perplexed my bosses, but they allowed the copies to be mailed. It turned out that the series was right on time, as several local Pastors were teaching on these topics to their various congregations. One woman called me and said that the series had confirmed the very dangers her pastor was preaching about in the pulpit the previous Sunday morning. Eventually the Pastor of her church called, and requested a copy of the series for his own study.
WHY, OH WHY DO PEOPLE GET SUCKED IN?
The ignorance factor opened my eyes, and proved to be the tip of the proverbial iceberg as my initial research began. However, for those who made it OUT of cult/occult activity, this was the first card on the table. Here are some others:
1) Family Tradition: Just as there are Christians who can point to their Christian ancestors, there are those in cult/occult activity who can point to THEIR ancestors. Couple this with the fact that there are some people BRED into some occult groups for either ritualistic sacrifice, ritualistic sexual abuse, or merely to serve at the whim of the group or coven.
2) Fear and Threats: The cost for entering cult/occult activity is cheap--in the beginning. However, those trying to exit such activity find that they are bombarded with fear and threats of retribution. For example: Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Moonies are told, flat out, that IF they leave, not only will they be excommunicated from their church; ALL family ties will be severed, and they will CEASE to exist in the minds of family members who decide to stay.
3) Power and Control: Some groups offer those who have less-than-glamorous lives the chance, and opportunity to ‘lead’ others, or, ‘rule’ others deemed to be ‘less’ than worth the flesh that contains them. For example: A Wiccan woman who may be a bit on the ‘plain Jane’ side in terms of looks and ability, can develop a following and servants merely by starting her own coven.
4) Thrills: The ability to do something to cater to one’s flesh in terms of excitement, sexual pleasure, or to act like a ‘god’.
5) Prestige and Position: Jim Shaw, who has written on the evils of Freemasonry and the Eastern Star groups, found that while he was a Mason, there was no problem with securing employment, making deals, and having the money roll in. Once he became a Christian, those opportunities dried up overnight. However, he admitted that while he had lost, he had gained in Christ Jesus.
6) Love and Acceptance: This is the crucial way that cult/occult groups recruit young people. Giving them a place to ‘fit in’; providing physical and tangible means of acceptance; even having their sexual desires met.
7) Knowledge: Those who fancy themselves to have a ‘superior’ intellect to the rest of us ‘mere’ mortals flock to groups that offer knowledge that goes beyond the everyday. This is true of practitioners of Voodoo, Santeria, and Palo Mayombe and other occult arts.
8) Manipulation: There are those around the recruit who ‘egg’ them on to join the group. This is also another subtle way that young people are ‘drawn’ into occult activity. We best know this as ‘peer pressure’. However, there are adults who also join up because of the same type of pressure.
DON’T STUDY THE GROUP--STUDY THE BIBLE:
It has been estimated that there are some 1,500 to 2,000 active cult groups in the USA. Some of them have worldwide reach; some of them don’t. Some of them are more visible than others. Some of them make the headlines; some of them CONTROL who makes the headlines. Some of them have various items used for worship and rituals; some of them have things reduced to writing, CD-Rom, or other means of communication.
One cannot study ALL of them, let alone list all of them.
Yes, there is countless information on the WWW about the various groups. Some of these sites name names, publish information, and list followers.
Let me save you some time and effort before you troop off to research the various groups. I learned this the hard way, because of the mountains of research, interviews, and checking I did on cult/occult activity both when I first became a Christian, and to this present day: It is MUCH easier, practical, and scriptural to study your KJV Bible to separate the false from the true. However, you also have to practice what you preach concerning cult/occult activity in, and around your life--and the lives of your family.
For example: The Bible tells us that Satan is behind ANY group, activity, or scheme that seeks to enthrone man, and dethrone the Godhead (God the Father, God the Son--Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit). Those practitioners may not see Satan at work, but the true Christian--armed with the Word of God can.
There are only two forces at work in this world: Christ and Satan. Just as Christ is alive, so is Satan:
*Satan has Intellect (II Corinthians 11:3).
*Satan has Emotion (Revelation 12:17).
*Satan has a Strong Will (II Timothy 2:26)
BUT--Jesus Christ whipped him on the Cross-, and at the Tomb (Colossians 2:15).
That’s why MY definition of a cult/occult/false religion is as follows:
ANY group that sponsors/spreads/supports teachings or beliefs CONTRARY to the Word of God; AND uses deception in order to maintain its membership, power base, OR to draw in NEW followers, worshippers, or converts to serve their cause!
HOWEVER, LET ME ADD A PROVISO:
The reason why I emphasize the Bible, and take a biblical line on the subject of cult/occult phenomena and spiritual warfare is that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Churches, denominations and individual Christians have gotten into trouble by taking a gray area of the Bible; or an area where the Bible is silent, and--through legalism--proclaim something to be occult in origin when, in reality, it is a matter of taste, style, or culture.
For example: In the African American church community, our worship style is different from other cultures. If the choir isn’t rocking; if the Pastor isn’t sweating after he preaches; if the musicians aren’t ‘peppy’ in their musical selections, then our worship experience isn’t true, in our opinion. When you mention ‘Sunday morning service’ to a Christian of African American culture, it runs three or four hours! Because of the music, the drums, the beat, the ‘ring shout’ the ‘call and response’, there are SOME Christians of other denominations who try to say that our worship experience is occult-laced--while some of these same individuals will yell themselves hoarse over the antics of a pro-sports team on a Sunday afternoon.
In reality, one church may do things one way, and another church does things another way. After all, our God is big enough to be praised for one hour--or four--or all day. He delights in praise. He delights in His people bragging on him, worshipping him, and shouting about him! One Christian may like Steak and Eggs, while another may be a Vegetarian. Is one any less a Christian because they wear a black suit to church, rather than blue jeans and a lumberjack shirt? NO! This is a matter of Grace, which Paul covers explicitly in Galatians, Chapter Five, and Romans, Chapter Eight.
CLOSING OUT PART TWO:
The Bible is ALSO clear on matters of the spirit realm. Just as Jesus Christ is alive, and Satan is alive, there is a spirit realm that is also alive, active, and very much a part of any discussion on spiritual warfare, deliverance, and counseling cult/occult survivors.
The Book of Revelation proves conclusively that there IS a spirit realm. The Book of Genesis proves conclusively that there IS a spirit realm. Jesus, in the Gospels, had to battle the forces of Satan in the wilderness.
So, why don’t many Christians believe someone who has been under spiritual attack? Why do so many Christians act disinterested on the subject of spiritual warfare?
Their eyes have not been opened to this fact.
If I may go back to an Old Testament example, there was a Prophet of God and his servant in a city that was about to undergo an attack. His servant could see the enemy camping about the city. He could see the spears, the horses, the shields, and the men, massing for an all-out attack. And, of course, the servant was visibly shaken, and worried.
The Prophet, on the other hand, was cool. If I may paraphrase his response: “Lord, open my servant’s eyes to truly see.” At once, the servant’s eyes were opened, and he saw the angels and forces of the Lord--larger in number--in very close proximity to the visible enemy.
Some Christians need to have their eyes opened to the reality of the supernatural forces at work as we continue our journey through this world. Not only that, but we need to follow the biblical provision supplied to us in I John 4:1-6. We need to try things, people, groups, and ideologies by the Sprit of the Lord--meaning the Holy Spirit.
Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ are asleep, in these last days.
This is NOT the time to be ignorant of the devil and his devices. Part three is coming real soon...so get your coffee cups ready, and your spirits in line with His Word.